40 internautes sur 43 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
((Initial revelation of potential non-disinterest: I am David Weber's elder brother.))
First, while i think the cover's better than the one on "Worlds of Honor", it's still not right -- those legs belong on a tree-antelope, not a tree-cat.
"But what's *in* it?", right?
This is another anthology, featuring three stories by Dave and one by Eric Flint.
The first story is "Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington". ((For a couple of reasons - ease of speaking being a major one, tradition another -- i think i'd have said "misdhipman", but it's Dave's call -- his world, his ranks.))
The story of Honor's "Snotty" cruise, it fills in the background on remarks she makes during "Among Enemies" about having been on pirate-chasing missions in Silesia.
As usual, with Honor onboard, what ought to have been a relatively routine cruise with a bit of action and not much danger turns into something else. ((I mean, finding out you'll be serving with Honor Harrington is like being a cop in a small town finding out that Jessica Fletcher is visiting...)) And Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington finds that she must rise to the occasion when disaster strikes. This story is a little more open and clear about the political maneuvering between the "working" Navy and the "timeserving" Navy (my terms) in which Honor's career is already inevitably enmeshed, long before she knows it or of it.
Also it has a Villain. I'll be writing a longer review for my new website, wherein i'll go into my thoughts on Villains vs. Bad Guys in Dave's stories. (By my reckoning, Rob Pierre is a Bad Guy -- Pavel Young is a Villain. Wossname who was behind the Dome failure is a Bad Guy [though with villainous tendencies] -- his dupe who Honor kills is a Villain.)
Second story is "Changer of Worlds", which has been available for more than a year on my family website by David's kind permission; it's the story of Laughs Brightly, bondmated to Cloud Dancer, who returns to his clan bringing Golden Voice, his new mate.
We know these people a bit better under other names, suffice to say. (Hint -- one of them is also known as "Nimitz")
(Skipping the Eric Flint story for right now, we get to Dave's third, "Nightfall".)
"Nightfall" is one of those stories that eventually has to be told in some form, if only as footnotes in some other work, i guess, but which i'd as soon not read. Despite the fact that there's a rather nasty little slice of spacewar let loose planetside in a major city, it's pretty much a static story of coup and countercoup and political maneuver.
We aready know the fates, if not descriptions of the actual events, of a number of characters from other books. "Nightfall" is the actual events. I found it uninvolving and unneeded.
Now, back to Eric Flint's "From the Highlands", which is, i think, the best piece of pure storytelling more or less for its own sake in the book. All of the other three stories are there to plug holes in the canon, and read more or less like that.
"Highlands", while it chronicles events that may well be as important in the future history of Manticore and Haven as the other three, just reads like a story Flint wanted to tell; in which we look at the ways Gryphon's Highlanders are like Scotland's.
Involving conflicting and complex loyalties personal, patriotic and political, it revolves around the kidnapping of a fourteen-year-old girl whose father, a Gryphon Highlander, is an Intelligence Analyst attached to Manticore's Embassy in the Solarian League's capital city, Chicago.
Not just any fourteen-year-old girl; we've seen her before, when she was four or so, asking her weeping father if Mama had made them all safe from the bad Peeps. And she is everything her mother's daughter should be -- she's already working on escape from her kidnappers when first we meet her.
Before the story is over, we will be involved with Helen's father, with her martial arts instructor, with Havenite and Manticoran Ambassadors and their respective Security Chiefs, a young Peep SS Intelligence Field Officer who faces a personal crisis of identity (he actually believes in the ideals of the Revolution), a dissipated Peep Marine Colonel who is rather more, various genetically-engineered "super-soldiers" and revolutionary former slaves and an expatriate, far-leftist Manticoran noblewoman, one of only three people kicked out of the House of Lords by vote of their peers.
Stir thoroughly, apply igniter and stand well back till the flames die down.
I give the book three stars overall; just the first three stories would have gotten four, just the Weber stories alone about three stars.
Good solid reading till the next novel, but it goes by awfully dismayingly and disappointingly quickly, which is one of the problems of a fast pace.
23 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Changer is worth having, bottom line. Ok? It's on the keeper shelf, and I had to move my sagas (the real thing) to fit it and begin leaving room for the next set of Honor Harringtons. Now to what's good and bad.
Again, I complain that the treecats are getting too cute. I'm sorry, David, but they just aren't plausible to me. Not because of size, or a great many other easy objections, covered with a certain amount of neatness in the "teach them to sign" part of Ashes of Victory. I just can't quite believe in them as written. Annoying, by the bye, because I really want to believe in the treecat sentience. Sigh. Their society doesn't feel workable, as it is shown. Granted, oral history can be remarkably accurate up to 500 years back, and sometimes, in traditional societies without literacy, there are feats of memorization that astound us urban, literate types. I am objecting here to feel - it's all too damn pat.
So anyway, onward.
I really loved Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington, even if I did nearly type in Hornblower. I liked the portrait of an incompetent and cruel superior, who needed to be worked around by the command. I'm glad they did. Honor gets to be a hero - we knew she had been from early in her career - and handle having command fall on her head in a bad situation in a beautiful bit of space combat. I loved that - the whole battle sequence was so well written I was literally holding my breath until spots began dancing before my eyes. Very, very good stuff!
Nightfall answered my objection in Ashes of Victory that Weber shouldn't kill off major characters off-stage. I enjoyed it, though I admit that knowing the ending kind of took the edge of tension off it. I rooted for Esther McQueen. I did think Weber offed Rob S. Pierre a little to fast and casual, but it was well written and I wish the sequence could have made it into Ashes. Although given the length of that book, perhaps that was a good editorial decision on Weber's part.
Does it sound like I've been holding off on commenting on Eric Flint's contribution? I'm afraid I have been.
Now, to be absolutely fair: Flint's "about the author" description describes him as an unregenerate Trotskyist. Having spent my college career on the Soviets, and exploring the really interesting splitting of semi-Marxist sects in America, I have developed some very strong opinions, and they aren't flattering to the ideology and its true believers.
It makes me uneasy to comment on From the Highlands because it was better written than many of Flint's other efforts, and he didn't editorialize quite so badly. Oh, yeah, he did editorialize and lecture the reader, mostly about politics and who should believe what. I liked the plot, I liked the writing (and I'm thrilled that Flint managed to restrain his verbal tics, this time out) and the action sequences. The combat was good.
Now, my objections crystalized in the moment where Flint has the State Sec officer heroically standing as a true defender of the Revolution, hard as steel. ARGH! To reach a truly disgusting level of brutality, bring on the knights of the revolution. Anybody remember Felix Dzerzhinski besides me? Anybody remember what Trotsky did to restore discipline in the Red Army in 1920? The defenders of the revolution will cut your throat quite impersonally. Isn't that nice, to know that you were just of the wrong class, or in the wrong place?
That style of politics, the Gryphon Highlanders one and all haters of their aristocracy, and willing to contemplate blood feud. The renegade noblewoman (oh, please, can we please lose the notion that this is somehow a great thing?) who views her class through that particular lens (let's not forget that the notion of a class traitor, once introduced, however positively, leads inexorably to the negative and justifies a lot of bad stuff)and the Solly masses being kept down, dumb, and ignorantly happy...ARGH! again.
Look, it's not that it wasn't fun. But the century just past has made me wary as can be of ideology (I almost misspelled that on purpose but decided it would be too cute), and the notion that all a messianic movement needs is pure enough hearts willing to defend it. Flint managed to make a mess of my enjoyment of the story with this, and I wanted to cry. I wanted to just enjoy the story, and I got this.
So much for my opinions. I'd give this a four if Flint had managed to restrain his politics.